AutoPacific’s 2013 Ideal Vehicle Awards Are In – Trucks

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Background of AutoPacific’s IVAs:  AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards for 2o13 are given to brands and vehicles that best meet the expectations of their buyers.  The person driving the truck does not want it to be bigger or more powerful or have better info/entertainment systems.  Based on the results of over 52,000 respondents, the IVAs are owner-based awards that can serve to give truck buyers an idea of how well manufacturers have designed vehicles with their customers in mind.

As you read through the brief descriptions of the winners’ results you will notice some similarities where owners of most vehicles want change. Visibility  Among all trucks about 22% of owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  Roominess  About 19% of truck owners want more passenger roominess than now.  Power vs Fuel Economy  Even when talking about today’s high gas prices, truck owners want good power and acceleration.  About 21% want more power and acceleration and only 9% of the respondents would sacrifice power and acceleration for better fuel economy.  Ingress/Egress  About 19% of all truck owners want their vehicles to be easier to get in and out of.  Info/Entertainment Technology  Design of the info/entertainment technology is one of the most hotly contested areas of vehicle design today.  Some manufacturers have a good handle on this, but 22% of truck owners want more info/entertainment technology than they have now.  These folks are offset by 14% who want their info/entertainment technology to be easier to use.

With that preamble in mind, here are the Ideal Vehicle Award winners for trucks  for 2013…

Most Ideal Premium Brand – Porsche:  Porsche has been here before having won the top IVA ratings for five of the eight years the awards have been given.  Porsche attracts a very affluent and enthusiastic clientele.  Its cars and SUVs are well-made, well-thought out and very stylish.  Clearly, Porsche designers and engineers have paid close attention to their customers when developing Porsche products.

Most Ideal Popular Brand – Ram Trucks:  At the top of the popular brand hierarchy is Ram Trucks.  This truck-only brand is primarily made up of the Ram 1500, and Ram Heavy Duty pickups.  The Ram 1500 has been heavily updated over the past years and clearly the Chrysler Group engineers developing the truck and its heavy duty companions have done an excellent job at developing products well-targeted to Ram buyers.

Most Ideal Vehicle Overall and Most Ideal Luxury Crossover SUV – 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML:  Mercedes-Benz is always very competitive in the Ideal Vehicle Awards and this year its ML sports utility vehicle wins the overall Ideal Vehicle Award with an impressive score.  While ML is the top scorer by a good margin, no vehicle is perfect.  Looking at individual attributes of the vehicle, owners would like more power and acceleration, easier to get in and out, more distinctive wheels, and better visibility for the driver.

2013 Ford F150 F34Most Ideal Light Duty Pickup – 2013 Ford F150:  The Ford F150 is the Most Ideal Light Duty Pickup for the fifth year in an row.  The F150 squarely hits its target in exterior size and styling, passenger roominess, ride and handling, tires and wheels, cargo space.  Clearly, Ford engineers and designers have the equation for a large pickup down pat.  There are some areas where F150 owners want changes.  About 30% want better storage areas in the interior than they have now.  About 23% want it to be easier to get into and out of.  The step-up is likely a little higher than these owners want.  About 18% want better visibility from the driver’s seat.  About 16% want more advanced info/entertainment technology than they have now, but 18% would like the technology they have now to be easier to use (MyFordTouch, again).  About 15% want more distinctive wheels than now.  About 12% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.  While 11% want more power and acceleration than now, 14% would give up power and acceleration for better fuel economy.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LT Crew Cab PickupMost Ideal Heavy Duty Pickup – 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD:  The heavy duty Silverado wins the 2013 Ideal Vehicle Award hitting its market target in exterior size and styling, tires and wheels, cargo space.  Because the Silverado HD is a serious work truck it has some compromises that personal use owners would want changed.  About 26% want more passenger roominess.  About 23% want more power and acceleration and only 4% would give up power and acceleration for better fuel economy.  About 21% want their Silverado to be easier to get into and out of.  About 18% want a more advanced info/entertainment system than now, but 10% want their present system to be easier to use.  About 17% want easier handling and a softer ride.  About 17% want better driver’s seat visibility.  About 15% want more distinctive exterior styling.

2013 GMC Yukon DenaliMost Ideal Luxury/Large Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 GMC Yukon:  The 2013 Yukon is the Most Ideal Luxury/Large SUV.  It hits the bulls eye in exterior size, driver’s seat visibility, tires and wheels.  About 32% want more/better interior storage than they have now.  About 25% want more cargo space.  About 18% want more distinctive exterior styling.  About 18% want their Yukon to be easier to get into and out of.  About 18% want more passenger roominess (of course, they could have opted for the larger Yukon XL to get huge passenger space).  About 18% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.  About 16% say they want more distinctive wheels.  Even though visibility is a strength (82% say it’s OK), about 14% of Yukon owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  About 14% want more advanced info/entertainment technology while 14% want the technology they have now to be easier to use.  About 9% want quicker handling and a firmer ride, but this is offset by 11% wanting easier handling and a softer ride.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland SummitMost Ideal Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee:  The 2013 is the Most Ideal Mid-Size SUV for the third year in a row.  Jeep designers, planners and engineers hit their market target in exterior size and styling, ride and handling, and tires.  Owners want some basic changes, however. About 32% want more advanced info/entertainment technology.  About 29% want better driver’s seat visibility showing that Grand Cherokee’s styling has somewhat limited outward visibility.   About 27% of Grand Cherokee owners want to have easier ingress/egress.  About 27% want more power and acceleration.  About 21% want more distinctive wheels.  About 20% want more cargo space.  About 17% want more passenger roominess.  Even though 84% would not change the styling, about 15% want a more distinctive exterior appearance.  About 15% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.

All-New 2012 ML350 4MATICMost Ideal Luxury Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class:  The owners of the Mercedes ML rate the vehicle highest overall in the Ideal Vehicle Research and also the highest in its class.  ML hits its buyer target in exterior size and style, driver’s seat visibility, passenger roominess, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, power and acceleration.  About 23% of ML owners would like for it to be easier to get into and out of.  Even though most owners are satisfied with visibility from the driver’s seat, about 14% want better.  About 21% want more distinctive wheels than now.  About 19% want more cargo space.  About 14% want more advanced info/entertainment technology, but 11% want it simpler and easier to use.

2013 Ford Flex F78Most Ideal Large Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Ford Flex:  Winning for the fourth year in a row, Ford Flex is the Most Ideal Large XSUV.  Owners of the Flex indicate Ford hit the target in exterior size, driver’s seat visibility, passenger roominess, ride and handling, cargo space, ease of getting in and out.  Because of the boxy shape of the Flex, it does very well in package-related attributes.  The styling of the Flex has proven to be controversial.  It is a love or hate thing.  About 21% of owners want the styling of the Flex to be more distinctive.  About 25% want more advanced info/entertainment technology, but 29% want it technology to be simpler and easier to use.  This is the impact of MyFordTouch again.  About 18% want more power and acceleration, but 10% would give up power and acceleration for better fuel economy.

2014 Chevrolet Equinox LTZMost Ideal Premium Mid-Size Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Chevrolet Equinox:  Owners of the Chevrolet Equinox rate the vehicle the Most Ideal Premium Mid-Size XSUV for 2013.  Equinox hits its target in exterior size and styling, wheels and tires, ride and handling.  About 27% of Equinox owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  About 22% want more passenger room.  About 23% want more cargo space.  About 22% want their Equinox to be easier to get into and out of.  About 21% want more power and acceleration.  About 11% want more distinctive exterior styling.  About 19% want info/entertainment technology to be simpler and easier to use while 12% want more advanced info/entertainment technology.  About 11% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.

2013 Ford Escape F34Most Ideal Mid-Size Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Ford Escape:  The Ford Escape wins the award as the Most Ideal Mid-Size XSUV.  Escape owners indicate their vehicle is on target in exterior size and style, wheel design, and ease of getting in and out.  After analyzing the results of the Ideal Vehicle Research, it appears that the Escape is a bit “package-challenged”.  About 28% want better passenger roominess.  About 24% want more cargo space.  About 22% want better driver’s seat visibility.  About 16% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.  About 14% want easier handling and a softer ride.  While about 86% want the same exterior styling, about 12% would like even more distinctive styling.  Significantly, 27% of Escape owners want info/entertainment technology that is simpler and easier to use.  This, again, is the impact of MyFord Touch.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek F34Most Ideal Compact Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – Subaru XV Crosstrek:   In its first year on the market, the Subaru XV Crosstrek wins the Ideal Vehicle Award for its class.  The XV Crosstrek hits its target buyer in exterior size and styling, passenger roominess, tires and wheels, ride and handling, and ease of getting in and out.  But, Crosstrek is an Impreza-based compact XSUV and there are shortcomings its owners would like to change.  A whopping 46% of the owners want more power and acceleration than the Crosstrek has now.  About 21% want better driver’s seat visibility.  About 14% want a more snug driver’s seat while the same percentage (14%) want the driver’s seat to be more relaxed.  About 25% want more advanced info/entertainment technology, but 17% want the technology they have now to be simpler and easier to use.  About 31% want more cargo space.  About 41% want more interior storage compartments.

2013 Chrysler Town & CountryMost ideal Minivan – 2013 Chrysler Town & Country:  Adding to its win of the 2013 Vehicle Satisfaction Award, Town & Country owners’ ratings give the Town & Country minivan the Most Ideal Minivan award.  The T&C is on target with exterior size, driver’s seat visibility, tires and wheels, interior storage compartments and cargo space.  About 17% want more distinctive exterior styling than now.  About 17% want more passenger roominess than they have now.  About 17% want more advanced info/entertainment technology, but 22% want what technology they do have to be simpler and easier to use.  About 16% want a more relaxed driver’s seat.  Even though about 85% are satisfied with driver’s seat visibility, about 15% want better visibility than they have now.  About 13% want easier handling and a softer ride.  About 13% want more power and acceleration, but 14% would sacrifice power and acceleration for better fuel economy.

2013_Lexus_RX450h F34Most Ideal Hybrid/EV Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle – 2013 Lexus RX450h:  The Lexus RX450h is the Most Ideal Hybrid XSUV.  RX450h hits its target in exterior size, passenger room, wheels and tires, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling and ease of getting in and out.  About 28% of Lexus RX450h owners want better driver’s seat visibility a victim of the XSUV’s swoopy styling.  Even if you agree its styling is swoopy, about 18% want more distinctive exterior styling.   About 15% want more passenger roominess and 19% want more cargo room.  About 25% want more advanced info/entertainment technology, but 20% want the technology they have to be simpler and easier to use.  About 15% want more power and acceleration, but remembering this is a hybrid where fuel economy should be paramount, about 10% would trade off performance for better fuel economy.

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